China’s Long History with Burma/Myanmar – Part 4/4

Enough said about The Economist, Christianity and differences between democracies and republics.

Back to the long history between China and Burma/Myanmar, which starts during the Han Dynasty.

Due to deposits of jade in Burma/Myanmar and that region, Chinese merchants have been involved in mining and trade there for more than two thousand years. 

Then during the Qing Dynasty, there were four major invasions (1765-1769) of Burma. In 1784, the long struggle between Burma and China ended and regular trade began again.

In November 1885, Sir Robert Hart favored a proposal that China, as Burma’s overlord, stand aside and allow the British Empire to pursue her own course there provided that Britain allow Burma to continue her decennial tribute (once every ten years) missions to China. Source: The I. G. In Peking, Letters of Robert Hart, Chinese Maritime Customs 1868-1907, The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, page 614, 1975.

Then the British Empire made Burma a province of India in 1886.

Since independence from the British Empire, Burma has generally been impartial to world affairs but was one of the first countries to recognize Israel and the People’s Republic of China.

Territories such as the autonomous regions of Tibet, Xinjiang and countries like North Korea, Manchuria, Mongolia, Burma, Vietnam and others along China’s long borders were considered vassal states, which often sent lavish gifts and delegations to China’s Emperors as Sir Robert Hart wrote that Burma did every ten years.

See The Sino-Vietnam War of 1979 or return to China’s Long History with Burma/Myanmar – Part 3


Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of the concubine saga, My Splendid Concubine & Our Hart. When you love a Chinese woman, you marry her family and culture too. 

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2 Responses to China’s Long History with Burma/Myanmar – Part 4/4

  1. jbbird says:

    I like your article. As someone with a background working on China issues, and currently working with Burma issues it provides a good intro to China-Burma relations.

    However, I think you may have overlooked the KMT-Myanmar connection. The Chinese have made a home for themselves in northern Burma since retreating KMT troops holed up their from 1949 til the 1960s. They have since transformed into businesspeople of course.

    • Thank you for reminding me of the KMT. I hadn’t thought of that as a topic. I’m aware that KMT troops in southern China retreated into this region after 1949 when the Communists under Mao won the Chinese Civil War.

      Until you mentioned it, I hadn’t thought of this as a topic but it is a perfect topic. During the Vietnam war, the KMT generals in the Golden Triangle traded drugs for weapons with the CIA, who then worked with the Mafia to sell those drugs in the US (inner cities where mostly the poor lived) to raise money for illegal operations (and to buy more weapons to trade for drugs) that the US Congress would not approved.

      It’s ironic, that many of the drug problems in the US started with the CIA raising money to fight the spread of communism in Southeast Asia. It’s almost as if we shot our feet off so we would have more freedom to walk where we wanted to go.

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